Saturday, July 18, 2015

The most difficult aspect to understand about the current state of the Tigers

The Tigers have had a lot of issues this season as they've floundered to a .500 record, even after the All Star break.
The most tangible explanation is their pitching is just mediocre. Ah, that was before they were one-hit Saturday night by the Orioles and lost despite an excellent start by David Price.
One thing I'm perplexed about is why the Tigers aren't better at home. They have a 23-24 record at Comerica Park after Saturday's loss.
Home field advantage in baseball is definitely a factor. Minnesota is 31-16 at home, 19-24 on the road. Kansas City is 30-16 at home, 24-19 on the road. Houston is 29-16 at home, 21-26 on the road.
It's even more pronounced in the National League. St. Louis is 32-11 at home and Pittsburgh 32-16, while both clubs are playing roughly .500 ball on the road. The classic example of this is the Mets, 32-14 at home, 15-29 on the road.
The Tigers have been OK on the road, 22-21. They just can't seem to shake loose at home, even against a team like Baltimore, which is just 18-27 on the road.
Through the early games Saturday night, MLB home teams had a 739-631 record - just a shade under a 54 percent winning percentage. Travel the issue? Can't be. The lone division in which home teams have a losing record is the American League West.
Does Comerica Park not fit the Tigers? It's a spacious in the outfield for sure, traditionally a triples haven. However, the Tigers have more range in the outfield than they've had in the recent past.
So the news about the Tigers to start the second half of the season - a home stand against .500 and sub .500 teams, like the Orioles and Mariners, should be good. Then again, this is a club that was destroyed at home by Milwaukee and Oakland this season, losing five of six to teams with a combined record of 80-103.
Entering this year, the Tigers were 430-299 at Comerica Park since turning around their fortunes in 2006. Even the 2008 team, which lost 88 games, was 40-41 at home. Otherwise, the Tigers haven't been remotely close to having a losing record at home since '06.
The losing at home is a trend the Tigers must change, or they have no chance in '15.

My column. Even without Notre Dame, Jim Harbaugh and Michigan figure to be tested before Big Ten season:



Blogger section444 said...

I think the keenest insight here is that they simply have had mediocre pitching all year, since their hot start. Lobstein showed some consistency delivering quality starts, after Verlander was injured in spring training. Comerica Park is so spacious that it exposes anything less than quality pitching, even with a big upgrade in their outfield defensive range. The starting pitching as well as the bullpen were huge question marks at the beginning of the year. Dave Dombrowski had too much faith in Alfredo Simon, Shane Greene, Joba Chamberlin, and Bruce Rondon, at the start of the year. When that faith was misplaced, the Tigers were in big trouble in terms of being able to compete for a championship. Deadline moves will target filling in the gaps in an otherwise talented core of players.

11:15 PM 
Blogger John Leach said...

MLB home teams merely having an overall 54% winning percentage is the key phrase and speaks volumes about parity. Perhaps you missed a larger reason the Tigers find themselves in their current plight. They've been overrated all along and reality has finally come home to roost. The Tigers at .500 is an accurate reflection of their assets and liabilities. Mowery was right. It's time to sell before the bananas go completely rotten. The Tigers had their window but could never get over the hump. They gutted their farm system trying to "win now", but it never happened. Might as well do a salary dump, try to get a few prospects in return, and hope for the best in a few years, because the current team is nowhere near World Series caliber and will only get worse as time goes on.

12:10 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most difficult aspect to understand about the current state of the Tigers has little to do with the team itself. They have their assets and liabilities as a team. What is truly confounding is why you and so many other local scribes and talking heads continue to overrate what has been an average club all along. After over 90 games they're at .500. That's as average as it gets.

2:08 AM 
Blogger John Leach said...

Approaching 100 games, the Tigers are a .500 club. The epitome of average. For every stud they have a dud. The most difficult aspect to understand is how and why so many, including yourself, have overestimated these guys in recent years. As a team overall, they're OK. Nothing more and nothing less.

11:50 PM 
Blogger Unknown said...

The reason the Tigers are bad at home is that the fans are terrible. We have, by far, the worst fans in Major League Baseball. They come to the games and stare into their phones or are taking selfies and aren't even paying attention to the game. The fans that do pay attention to the game aren't the least bit noisy at any of the key moments that occur in all MLB games. The games I have gone to I feel like I am "creating a scene" because I yell and cheer when the opposing batter gets two strikes on him. I believe that the Tigers fans that go on the road and see the Tigers make more noise than all of the fans at Comerica Park. I will never forget the first time I saw the Oakland Athletic fans on television against the Tigers in the playoffs. I couldn't believe people could scream that loud that long. I guess as Tigers we have been spoiled by winning for a while now, but I think we'll see that coming to an end real soon.

2:49 PM 
Blogger section444 said...

This comment about the Comerica Park fans is spot on. Fans only rarely and usually not until late in the game, make much noise, by such time they are 3 or 4 runs behind. I do think, to some degree the perception of fan disinterest at Comerica is amplified by the layout of the place. I recall the late great sports writer, Joe Falls describing the design of it as like "a giant salad bowl" The proximity to the field is distant compared to the intimacy that was the best feature of Briggs/Tiger Stadium. Yes it features wide concourses, attractions for the kids, is a family friendly environment, features a broad selection of food choices, and sports some very nice amenities, like the historical displays, & the statues. But as far a great place to watch a game, that's "long gone". The're are not nearly enough seats in the shade, which I guess accounts for sun drenched, overheated fans leaving their seats. seeking the cool of the concourses. In reference to Pat's article, the team has performed well at home in past years. This years club's pitching is clearly sub standard

3:51 PM 

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